07:19 GMT23 September 2020
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    The annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised a record amount for itself and the Israeli military on Thursday, less than a week after 11 Jews were massacred in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, synagogue.

    The 2018 gala raised nearly doubled what it had three years prior, which was about $32 million, Sputnik News reported at the time. In 2017, FIDF raised just $35 million.

    Israeli megadonors Shelden Adelson and Haim Saban and their spouses topped the list of donors, with each pair doling out $10 million.

    American pop star Pharrell Williams headlined the event, which was held in Beverly Hills, and drew in the likes of Bob Marley's son, singer Ziggy Marley, actors Ashton Kutcher, Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia and stars from the controversial Netflix-produced Israel-Palestine war thriller, "Fauda."

    American celebrities are under increasing pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to refuse to do business with Israel, travel there to perform or promote Israeli projects. Singer Lana Del Rey canceled her concert in Israel at the end of August after being convinced to support the boycott.

    BDS calls for a boycott against Israel in an effort to get the country to end its longstanding and often bloody occupation of Palestine, which has been deemed illegal by the UN.

    The gala "told the 70-year history of Israel through the eyes of its heroes [the IDF]," the Associated Press reported.

    Meanwhile, an undercover documentary on the Israeli lobby in the United States that was being produced by Al Jazeera before being censored had its first two of four parts leaked on Friday. The documentary shows how one fundraiser for a congressional candidate held by an unofficial "AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] group" skirted rules on maximum individual contributions by pooling together the group's donations and dividing them evenly between participants. Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, refused to publish the documentary under intense pressure from Israel.


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    IDF, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Hollywood, Israel, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
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